Glasgow: Printed by Robert and Andrew Foulis for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1768. Item #00044
Boswell’s Remarkable Success
BOSWELL, James. An Account of Corsica, the Journal of a Tour to that Island; and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli. Illustrated with a New and Accurate Map of Corsica. Glasgow: Printed by Robert and Andrew Foulis for Edward and Charles Dilly in the Poultry, London, 1768.
First edition. Octavo (8 1/16 x 4 7/8 inches; 205 x 125 mm.). xxi, [1, blank], [1, table of contents], [1, blank], 382 pp. Bound without the final blank leaf (Aa8). Large folding engraved frontispiece map of Corsica by Thomas Phinn. Engraved coat-of-arms on title-page.
Contemporary sheep. Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with burgundy morocco gilt lettering label. Expertly rebacked with the original spine laid-down. Front pastedown with early ink signature (partially erased), pencil signature of D. Cecil Gibbs, armorial bookplate of Thomas Havers (with his name crossed out in pencil), penciled note: “J. Joseph’s copy,” and penciled bookseller’s note. Penciled annotations at foot of p. 71 and 72. A very good copy.
“The first edition was sold out within six weeks, and a new edition (also of 3500 copies) was advertised for 1 April 1768…This second edition supplied the public demand for a year. The third edition was advertised for 1 May 1769, with the announcement that ‘Mr. Boswell’s Account of Corsica has been so well received by the Public that two numerous Editions of 3500 Copies have been sold within the Space of a few Months; and the Book is so highly esteemed abroad that it has been translated into the French and Dutch languages, and printed at Amsterdam and Lausanne’…As Boswell proudly recorded later…it was ‘translated into Dutch, German Italian, and twice into French’—all within a year of its publication. Besides this, there were, as listed above, at least three editions printed in Ireland. The Account of Corsica was a book of the hour. Many more copies of it were sold in Boswell’s lifetime than of either of his great works in the biography of Johnson, and it achieved abroad a much more remarkable success” (Pottle, p. 62).
Points: Table of contents (b2) follows the Preface (a1-b1); D2 recto is in Rothschild’s first state, with the words “John Home” incorrectly placed following the first quotation on p. 51; E2 is a cancellans, with lines 11 and 12 on p. 69 reading: “enjoying the noble fief of/Istria” (not recorded by Rothschild); Z3 is a cancellans, with “Mariana” corrected to “Mariani” on p. 357. The map is in the second state, as per Rothschild, with the imprint, and is bound between the half-title and title. In addition, this copy has the following misprints recorded by Pottle: “141” for “241” in the table of contents (corrected in this copy by over-stamping); broken “E” in “Etruscans” on p. 70, line 17 (with the lower bar showing faintly); “feelirg” on p. 137, line 11; “tha the” on p. 172, line 9; “Montgomerÿ” on p. 184, line 4; “speculati-ions” on p. 327, lines 9-10. Pages 93 and 296 are correctly printed.
Cox I, pp. 138-139. Gaskell 473. Lowndes I, p. 242. Pottle 24. Rothschild 442-445.